The first course of The Teal Curriculum was born in Boulder, Colorado in 1950, when Dorothy Teal volunteered to teach church school. As a child, Dorothy was a Baptist who willingly went to church and Sunday school each week, but by the time she got to college she had become an agnostic because "I really didn't know anything about the Faith." She was still an agnostic when she married mining engineer and geologist George Teal, a practicing Episcopalian.
Soon Dorothy began to feel a void in her life, and after the birth of their son Tom had not brought the miracle she had hoped it would, she sought counsel from an Episcopal priest who was said to be a tremendous counselor. She soon discovered her problem:
"I was trying to live without God. I firmly shut the door and wouldn't let Christ into my life. Instead of listening to Him, I was like a small child who put her hands over her ears. My 'intellectual,' smug arguments against Christianity were based on gross misunderstanding, and pitiful ignorance. It was so unnecessary and a complete waste of nearly forty years of my life.
"I resolved then to help children truly understand the Faith so that they wouldn't have to go through what I did, and so I volunteered to teach Sunday school."
"What do I teach?" she asked. "Anything you want. You order it, and we'll pay for it."
Dorothy tried everything that first year, but found that the materials were mostly the same mindless busy work that she had experienced as a child. And so, in a simple way, she began to write her own courses using Tom as a guinea pig.
As the years went by she improved the various courses she had written, and by the time Tom was in high school, he too began to teach and improve. Soon he was addicted to teaching and a great deal of his college career at the University of Colorado was spent thinking up new ideas and trying them on his classes.
During this period, the courses were also used and criticized by other teachers across the country. But still, and it seems incredible to us now, we never thought about publishing the material. And then the Holy Spirit stepped in and prompted Dorothy's mother to tell a religious bookstore owner about the courses. He was interested. So interested in fact that he presented a contract.
After his graduation, Tom continued to work on the courses with Dorothy and when our three year contract with our publisher expired, we realized that this was the turning point. Tom's wife Beth argued that we should become publishers, and despite the fact that we knew nothing about printing, we all realized that this was the only way to keep the courses alive. And so in 1969 we took the wild leap into the dark and became publishers as well as authors, and the next year we moved our work and company to Granby, Colorado.
Since then the curriculum has expanded to include courses from kindergarten through high school and adults. In 1974 another teacher and educator, Esther Yant, was inspired to offer us a short course, which she later followed with another, and some highly imaginative kindergarten material. Also in 1974, The Reverend Karl Marsh added a worship supplement to course 5, Our Sacramental Way, which involved the entire parish in Christian Education.